Laura CliffordIsmael (Louis Garrel) lives with pretty Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) and works with Alice (Clotilde Hesme) and shares his bed with both. That changes one tragic night as Ismael is thrown into an emotional quagmire of loss and pain. A teenage boy, Erwann (Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet), is the only one who can help bring Ismael back to the world of the living and loving in “Love Songs."
The good looking cast – Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Clotilde Hesme and Chiara Mastroianni and Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet) – are given a three act play with Ismael at its center. The Departure is about the love triangle between Ismael, Julie and Alice and the feelings and frictions it brings to all three and ends in sudden tragedy. The Absence covers Ismael’s time away and how his grief controls his life. The Return deals with his learning to cope with loss and to find love again, though not in the expected places.
Love Songs” intersperses songs as dialog for the main characters, again with Ismael as the focal point of every song. It lacks the full richness of “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” where every word is done in music lyrics . Here, it is a bit more spare, with the characters breaking into song about their relationships and desires. It is an interesting exercise by writer/director Christophe Honore but it plays too unevenly. Louis Garrel is fine as Ismael, however, I found the character both obsequious and willfully self centered. I just didn’t like the guy. Too bad since Ismael is the lynchpin of the play. I give it a B-.
Laura gives "Love Songs" a B.
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